Hanwell Town 2 Hartley Wintney 4
This defeat, against higher placed Hartley Wintney, hinged very much on an assistant referee’s assessment of a forty-second minute incident. Up to that point Town had been playing well and were a goal in front, but when Paul Hodges’ shot rattled the crossbar and bounced down the eagle-eyed official signalled that it had crossed the line. Spectators in much closer proximity than the official were adamant that it had not. The award of a goal meant that the visitors went in at the interval level and came out to dominate the second half. The alleged injustice seemed to deflate the home side and eventually the Hartley Wintney ran out deserved victors.
The first fifteen minutes of the match were very scrappy with the only noteworthy incident being a long-range shot from Harvey Killeen that was easily dealt with by visiting ‘keeper Paul Strudley. However the contest was sparked into life in the sixteenth minute when Harvey latched on to a loose ball, went past a defender and the ‘keeper and placed the ball wide of the defender on the goal-line. The setback elicited a positive response from the visitors and Liam Eagle had a glorious chance to equalize from a corner but his header missed the target. Five minutes later, as the half hour mark approached, Sam Bunting presaged things to come by saving well from Adam Everiss. However, from the ensuing corner, the visitors equalized. Dean Stow got his head to the ball and Rowan Vine was first to react, putting the bouncing ball into the goal.
With the half-hour mark still not reached Hanwell went ahead again. A ball from Ned Clarke by-passed Glen Yala and reached Harvey, who crashed it into the top corner from the edge of the area. What a goal and what a two and a half minutes! The next twelve or so were without major any major incident or controversy. That all changed in the forty-second as detailed above. The hotly disputed goal lifted ‘The Row’ and Sam did well to dive low to prevent Hodge scoring another two minutes later.
The visitors tore into Hanwell at the start of the second period despite enthusiastic singing by the ‘Hanwell Massive’ to encourage their team to do the reverse. Sam pulled off a quite brilliant save from Hodges again and, under pressure, Nick Turner almost diverted the ball into his own net. Then both Sam and Olly Duffy blocked point-blank shots, all before the half was five minutes old. Hartley continued to dominate proceedings and Sam saved well from Vine before bravely diving at the feet of Everiss. The Hanwell custodian then saved a Stow free kick before diving full length to prevent substitute Jake Baxter from giving Hartley the lead.
As the half neared the halfway mark Hanwell finally forced Strudley into action when he needed to go full length to save from Glen, following a mazy dribble. The Hanwell faithful were not happy when the referee waved ‘play on’ after Ned looked to have been brought down as he prepared to shoot. In the meantime Alfie Cain had managed to scramble the ball away from the six yard box when surrounded by visting forwards. However Hartley went ahead in the seventy-fourth minute. Sam managed to fingertip a Hodges’ cross away but only as far as Eagle who headed the ball into the goal.
The remaining ‘fifteen minutes plus’ were end to end. At one end Sam saved at Baxter’s feet while Strudley saved from Ned up the other end. In the eighty-third minute Baxter raced on to Hodges’ ball ‘in the channel’ and made it four goals to two. As the game was coming to an end Jack French missed badly for ‘The Row’ and Ned fired over after Calum Duffy had headed Glen’s cross in his direction. The final whistle saw Hartley Wintney leave the field with a well-deserved win but we will never know what may have ensued had the ‘ghost goal’ not been awarded
Team: 1.Sam Bunting 2.Calum Duffy 3.Mason Welch-Turner 4.Oliver Duffy © 5.Nick Turner (12.Jesse Kewley-Graham 86) 6.Joe Chandiram 7.Mergim Qarri (16.Georges Ehui 54) 8.Alfie Cain 9.Ned Clarke 10.Harvey Killeen 11.Glen Yala. Unused substitutes: 14.Chris Mills 15.Ricky Pither.